All posts by YoMama

At this moment, my kids are teenagers. They grunt sometimes. I'm getting used to it.

A Short Course In Human Relations

A Short Course in Human Relations –

The 6 most important words: I admit that I was wrong.
The 5 most important words: You did a great job.
The 4 most important words: What do you think?
The 3 most important words: Could you please.
The 2 most important words: Thank you!
The most important word: We.
The least important word: I

This was posted on facebook and shared. I do not know who the original author is.

Bionic Limbs

I have always enjoyed listening to Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR… It used to air in the afternoon and coincides with my commute and picking up the kids from school but then NPR moved the program to be aired in the evening and I missed it.  As luck would have it, I found myself doing Taxi Duty tonight.  I dropped my son off and had an hour to myself while I waited.  I brought a good book but when Fresh Air came on the radio, I couldn’t resist and just had to listen.  And, just like I remembered, eavesdropping on Terry’s conversations with her guests never disappoint. 

I totally recommend that you listen and make up your own mind about The Double Amputee Who Designs Better Limbs – an interview that left me hopeful… That re-enforced my belief in the human spirit and left me inspired… That reminded me how passionate I was about artificial intelligence when I was at the University of Waterloo…That confirmed for me that we truly are on a path towards what some call The Singularity – a topic that’s come up again and again since it was on the cover of the feb 21, 2011 issue of Time Magazine.  The small print in the lower right hand corner reads: “if you believe humans and machines will become one.  Welcome to the Singularity movement”.  I found a roadmap online leading up to the year 2045 The Year Man Becomes Immortal)…

I don’t know if man and machine will become one.  I know that when I was pregnant I used to wonder if the kids would come out pre-wired to be plugged in.  I’m not kidding.  I used to have these waking dreams, and I used to joke about it.   

“I’m titanium, carbon, silicon, a bunch of nuts and bolts… My limbs that I wear have 12 computers, five sensors and muscle-like actuator systems that able me to move throughout my day.” ~ Hugh Herr, The Double Amputee Who Designs Better Limbs.

He talked about exoskeletons for humans… Hmmm. 

Later in the interview, he predicts the creating of neural connections to the artificial limbs: “The nervous system of the human will be able to communicate directly with the synthetic nervous system of the artificial limb.”

Brilliant I thought to myself. 

They mentioned a book in the interview that I just ordered on Amazon – Looked interesting – I read the reviews and clicked on surprise me and liked the page that came up… beyond that, I can’t comment one way or the other since I don’t yet have it.  The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices: How the Digital Magicians of the MIT Media Lab Are Creating the Innovative Technologies That Will Transform Our Lives

I love this stuff!  Technology and innovation mixed with some heart and hope from our humanity.  It represents for me the potential for what we dream to become reality.

Thank you Hugh Herr for embracing your calling this lifetime and making your contribution!  I listened and felt humbled by your spirit.

Mentally and emotionally stimulated and buzzing with the possibilities of my own dreams, I had a great conversation with my son on the long drive back home – a conversation about his dreams. 

It’s been a while

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here… it’s not because I have nothing to say – quite the opposite, it’s because I’ve been having more conversations in person… I wonder if I should document those in hindsight here.  When I blog, I wonder if anyone ever will read what I’m writing.  When I talk, I just talk, without an inner critic.  Perhaps that’s why some people are offended with how “direct” I can be.

Sometimes I wish this website was a forum instead of a blog.

Developing a sense of wonder

A while back, I got an email that tells of a taoist parable where every event was judged as being bad or as being good and the story went on alternating between bad fortune and good fortune showing that something is never good or bad but just is.

I found a blog post ( http://vision-nary.com/weblogs/index.php/taoist_parable ) of this and here i’ve duplicated the content below which is exactly the content of the email I received. I love the internet!

“…an old Chinese farmer lost his best stallion one day and his neighbor came around to express his regrets, but the farmer just said, “Who knows what is good and what is bad.” The next day the stallion returned bringing with him 3 wild mares. The neighbor rushed back to celebrate with the farmer, but the old farmer simply said, “Who knows what is good and what is bad.” The following day, the farmer’s son fell from one of the wild mares while trying to break her in and broke his arm and injured his leg. The neighbor came by to check on the son and give his condolences, but the old farmer just said, “Who knows what is good and what is bad.” The next day the army came to the farm to conscript the farmer’s son for the war, but found him invalid and left him with his father. The neighbor thought to himself, “Who knows what is good and what is bad.”

I love the idea of taking a situation and just accepting it exactly the way it is and perhaps in some cases even wondering and asking the question “what lesson do you bring me?”

Today, I stumbled upon this talk that I’ve embedded below (by Kathryn Schultz on Ted.com entitled On Being Wrong) that spoke about being right and being wrong (obviously a great topic for discussion on this blog) and also mirrored some of my own ponderings.

Watching Kathryn’s talk, I wanted to interact with her and maybe others for some discussion because this topic of right and wrong fascinates me… For instance, not too long ago, I actually jumped off a cliff figuratively speaking (at least that’s what happened in my husband’s reality – just like the graphic that Kathryn shows in her talk). I remember asking him why it was important for him to point out to me that I had just stepped off a cliff instead of just keeping quiet and seeing if there is a possibility that I could fly. I know I was stretching my reality a bit. But why not? If we are all these beings of consciousness, why not ponder the ideas that shift our reality?

Anyway, if the talk prompts somethign in you, I’m open for us a discussion.

Luv Letters and Stuff

This morning I got an email from my sister and it said:

 

I was passing by a table at the mall yesterday and I saw this and thought of you and smiled. 

Knowing that we don’t need any more useless junk, I opted to leave it there but took a pic of it to share with you.   

Hugs.

 

Her email made my day. 

I feel buried under “The Stuff”. 

Our home used to be an example of consumerism gone out of control where each happy meal (yes we used to eat at McDonalds) came with a non-edible plastic toy stamped Made in China.  But it didn’t stop there, years of Christmases and ‘retail therapy’ and The Stuff just piled up.  We have for the past 3 years worked hard at clearing the clutter.  Slowly! 

Not long ago, my daughter had enough.  She literally carried everything she did not love out of her room and put it in the garage where now we all have to step over it to get to the utility sink next to the washer and dryer.  The day she did that, I admired her, and wished that I could do what she so easily did.  But, over time, I have come to hate how in one morning she transferred the responsibility of her Stuff to me. 

If you looked around our home, you may (or may not) be overwhelmed by the piles of stuff, but sometimes I am.  The garage would certainly make you stop and wonder if hoarders lived here… the house is much better.  My problem is that I associate a value to things.  And, I’m not talking just money.  I see in the pile, a picture frame gifted to her by a relative or close friend, a stuffed animal that marked a special occasion or even a book that we cherished as a child and I find myself unable to just put them in the giveaway pile. They represent memories of time gone by. So they remain in my path, creating clutter and collecting dust.

In order to help myself with this problem, I have asked people not to gift me with “stuff”.   I have made a pact not to buy any clothing unless I can take something out of the closet to make room.  I have only replaced things for the kitchen and resisted the latest gadgets just because I’m committed not to drown in Stuff.

My sister’s email today gave me hope.  It showed me that someone understands me.  Had she bought me the sequined Y, I would not be able to throw it away.  We live at opposite ends of North America and I find that despite our sibling rivalry growing up, we are now best friends and wish we were neighbors.  So any gift from her would be cherished by me.  Call me sentimental.  And as much as she wanted to show me that she was thinking of me, she put my needs first and that made me feel that she “sees” me and that she knows that the gifts I most cherish are not made of Stuff.

What do you do 24/7?

My friend posted on facebook a link to a YouTube video of the primetime series “What Would You Do?”.  When you see something that you think is wrong do you step in or do you step away? … I encourage you to watch this as it is in my opinion a way to reflect in the mirror and to observe this fabulous experiment on human behavior.

Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSKZX7RyCBc

I love facebook! That’s no secret.  I mostly love the friends and friends of friends that I’ve connected with.  Here are some of their comments, mostly quoting others.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing ~ Edmund Burke”.  This quote will make sense if you watch the video in its entirety.

 “Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances ~ Wayne W. Dyer”

But by far my favorite comment is this one:

“wow! it reminded me of a quote a friend just posted..’Don’t tell me what you believe. Show me what you DO 24 hours a day and I’ll tell you what you believe’ ~ Jerry Rubin”.

The prominent facebook feeds in the last few days have all touched on the topic of Cordoba House, the proposed Islamic Community Center which has caused so much controversy because of its proximity to Ground Zero.

Today, a Huffington Post article by Priscilla Warner entitled Is Fear Contagious echoed some of the thoughts and feelings I’ve had.  Priscilla Warner co-authored The Faith Club…

My sentiment is this: I am contagious… and so I am responsible to BE that which I want to spread around… I am inspired.

And that is why I have decided to blog about this right now.  Maybe this Cordoba House is a representation of the pink elephant in the room. So let’s keep talking about it.

I have an opinion about the Cordoba House.  I will not take the middle ground like some people on this.  I think Americans should demand nothing less than equality for all people.  I think in America we should all encourage the building of community centers regardless of faith.  We as humans are starved for connection and we need to build our neighborhoods in such a way as to encourage discussion where we all can “disagree without being disagreeable”.  I think maybe Obama said that but I don’t know who he was quoting.

Why not make America that field that Rumi talks about? This was my original impetus for starting this website.

This website is inspired by a quote … Out beyond the place of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field.  I’ll meet you there. The mystical poet Rumi (1207-73) 

In fact, why can’t the world be that field?

If you’re thinking “she’s an idealist… ” or worse… It’s OK.  “Your opinion of me is none of my business ~ Wayne Dyer”.  I’ve been called many names before.

If you care about or love anything (your children, this planet… whatever is important to you in your heart) then I will say this to you: Please don’t label me because I have an opinion.  Please talk with me and get to know me and gaze into what is alive in me and in the process, allow me to see what is alive in you.

I exist to hold that field in my heart and practice 24/7 to make it so.  I say practice because I’m not there.  But when I find myself in a place of judgment, I smile, and I forgive myself and learn and evolve.  But I get more determined to practice.

So, what would you do?  What do you do 24/7?  I really want to know.

Note: If anyone (friends or friends of friends) recognizes something they said and wants to be identified here as the person who said it (other than those who I’ve already credited), let me know and I will be happy to give you credit but for now, time is precious and I didn’t want to ask permission and so I’ve made the quotes anonymous.

To find out more about the concept “What is alive in me?” check out the Center for Non-Violent Communication (NVC) website or do a Google search.

Parenting in a broader sense

Parenting is a word that we understand to mean that we are dealing with offspring…but I invite you to broaden the definition of ‘parenting’ a bit and think of parenting as a quality of relationship such as nurturing. Nurturing can be done to plants

in a garden, to a sick animal, and of course to our own children. So then with the broader sense, the word ‘parenting’ can be applied to anyone you have a relationship with where you are in a position of ‘parent’, ‘mentor’, ‘boss’, ‘teacher’, ‘vendor’, ‘caretaker’… It deals with the relationship… Especially if growth is something to be a byproduct of the interaction.

I think the lesson that Dr. Wayne Dyer offers from the Tao is timely… And, when you are done reading, I invite you to have a conversation here, or email me privately if you know me. I would love to hear what your soul says to you (if anything) while reading the his blog entry: http://www.drwaynedyer.com/blog/the-simple-path-to-parenting

Y

Stoicism and the Poem IF by Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), in a photogravure from 1926 from www.Columbia.edu

The following YouTube of an animation of Rudyard Kipling reading his poem IF spoke to me this morning. I wanted to share it here because I learned something. English not being my first language I still find me learning many things and I find that the discovery of a new word is as magical today as it was when I was a child.

The caption for the poem on YouTube reads:

poetryanimations — December 08, 2008 — Heres a virtual movie of the great Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936) reading his wonderful wise much loved ode to stoicism the poem “If”.

What caught my attention was the word ‘stoicism’. Up until now, I had associated ‘stoicism’ or being ‘stoic’ with something that was not positive – somehow the words stoic and apathetic were mixed up in my mind (English not being my first language, I am not surprised. I make many such mistakes). But I loved the poem so much and I would never have labeled it ‘stoic’ and definitely not ‘apathetic’ and so I did some research and found the following Wikipedia definition of Stoicism.

I had no idea that (and I’m quoting from Wikipedia) “Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life…” I just thought ‘stoic’ people were people who didn’t care.

I loved the poem in the video so much that I searched and found the words so I could print them out and read them myself. You can find them here.

Stoicim reminds me of the phrase from the Tao Te Ching that says ‘when nothing is done, nothing is left undone’. Or in this translation of chapter 3 – No action “If no action is taken
Harmony remains.”

I feel free of my judgment about the label ‘stoic’. I love learning.

I look forward to reading your comments and maybe we can have a Deep Conversation.